With the school year now to an end, I could not have had a better finish to the month of May than I did this year!
I returned to St. Joseph Catholic School in Olney, Illinois and delivered every copy of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville to the students who did not get their’s at my presentation. We actually ran out, a first for me!!
I was surprised with a handmade card that looked just like the cover of Barney & Lexi and I always say this but it means the world to me, these gifts are priceless! I handed out the books to the students and fulfilled my promise. I always make a promise to myself before leaving a school that I keep my word, give value and inspire as many as possible. For the students of St. Joseph, I know I did just that!!
I left Olney, Illinois and headed south for Mt. Carmel, Illinois where I was returning to one of my first schools! Formerly known as N.I.C.E, now known as Mt. Carmel Elementary School has so much character within its walls and still holds a dear place in my heart!
The students packed in and away we went. I always feel incredible as I watch the kids laugh and excited over Barney & Lexi! They follow every word I say and at times become so silent you could hear a pin drop. I love the participation we share with one another and feel a great sense of pride in knowing that I help make a child’s life for creative by showing them that an adult does not have to settle for a boring life!
I signed over thirty copies of B&L after the presentation and made the students day by making sure that every one of them got a bookmark regardless if they purchased a book. Sells are great and in the end we have to make income from our efforts but when you can give value to someone, you will always find things to come back around!
I said farewell to Mt. Carmel Middle School and was asked to return for a third year! Boom! I LOVE IT!! And so I end an extraordinary school year schedule, pushing my comfort zone and impacting lives! If I died right now, I would die knowing I was making a difference! Wishing you a great day ahead. Levi 🙂
The year was 1996 and I was in high school. A former pro football player (now, as to what his name was, I can not remember) came to out school and spoke to us all about making good choices in life. It was during his speech that I began to think about what he was doing and thought to myself,
“There is NO way I could ever come into my school and do what he is doing!”
And for over two decades that would follow, I thought about how it must have felt to stand before my peers and deliver an impacting speech. I often pretended in the privacy of my own home, that I was giving that speech and that others applauded it.
Speaking however, was something that for years I believed I could never physically do. It was a long and difficult road to overcome 36 years of shyness and even when I first began speaking just over a year ago, I often became nervous to return to my old school and deliver the same type of speech to the students that I was doing very well at everywhere else.
The reality is that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change, and boy did they! This last two years has changed my life forever and because of that, this year I not only reached for the highest bar in my life, but I reached it, took a hold of it and now it is behind me!
On May 14th, I took the stage of Lawrenceville High School and delivered a 20 minute speech that my son Lynden, (who was out of school and helping me) said was my best ever! I spoke with the graduates about not allowing your past to hinder you and knowing the entire world was open and ready for their determination and drive. In the end, the weight of 20 years fell off of my shoulders and onto the stage floor. The feeling left behind is one of joy that I can yet begin to explain. I finished right on time and had a handful of students approach me for my card, which was my personal reward for my work.
I walked out of the school that day more certain of my future and felt my life go to the next level. Always remember that no bar is too high if you keep working day after day to achieve it, once you do, there is not limit to what you will discover!
As Mother’s Day entered into the afternoon, my youngest son, Rylen and I entered the senior hall of Lawrenceville High School to give the gift of advice and knowledge.
With a northern Indiana news station coming in to cover my brand of giving, Rylen and I got a jump on the project ahead of time by hanging quotes and pictures.
When the amazing Taylor Williams from WTWO arrived, we kicked things into high gear! With the film rolling, the Senior Hall became a ‘Field of Dreams’ in many ways. It was such an honor to have an out of state station help shine the light on what will be the final days of this class together.
As the interview wrapped and Rylen had worked himself pretty hard. We heading back to the office to print some quotes I had run short on. Rylen went home to his mother’s to rest, (that boy earned it) and I returned for another hour to finish the project.
As the sun began to set at 8:30p.m., I reflected on just how I had done my absolute best to give my all to the students of LHS. Any job worth doing is worth doing right.
The end result that night was seeing what Taylor put together to help spread the positivity and I have to say thank you to her for her time and hard work and to WTWO of Terre Haute, Indiana for taking interest in this endeavor!
As the school year winds down, I am so honored to be impacting students at three school before summer vacation! On May 11th we take Barney & Lexi to St. Joseph Catholic School, on the 21st we go into Mt. Carmel Grade School!
Between those dates I will be returning to my Alma-mater and speaking with the graduating class of Lawrenceville High School!
This moment is super special because it was 21 years ago that I was in high school and watched a speaker come to our school and I sat in the auditorium and thought to myself, “No way I could EVER do that!”
When I began to radically change my life I thought back to that moment and told myself that as I grew, to go back to my school, look the students in the eyes and tell my story meant that I was reaching back in time and telling the old me, “Sit back, I GOT THIS!”
If not you, then who, if not now, then when?
What an incredible trip to Ft. Wayne, Indiana this week!
I arrived on Monday evening and spend time visiting with old friends from high school and catching up on current life events. I was staying just done the interstate from their home at a very comfortable Extended Stay America hotel. With a kind staff, clean room and comfortable bed, I had a great nights sleep before my presentations.
I arrived at Canterbury School and from the moment I entered the building, I knew that this school was unique. Colorful, cheerful and mindful of every student in it’s Pre-K thru 12 curriculum. This school did not feel like a school but rather a magical destination for higher learning. (Yes I do feel there is a difference between the two.)
The staff was some of the kindest I have ever been blessed to engage with! It would be impossible not to feel the love and care for not only the students but for everyone at the book fair.
When the time came to present my back-to-back presentations, I went all in and hooked the students in the amazing world of creativity and left them even more excited to peruse all of the titles on hand for purchase and reading. I was asked to bring twelve copies of Barney & Lexi and only two remained as I prepared to leave.
As I left I was asked if I could return today and do an impromptu presentation and I would have been all over this opportunity had it not been that I had to return to work today! The event organizer, Beth, who is amazing, requested my work for next years book fair and I am most grateful to return for that!
A bonus was meeting a district representative for Barnes & Noble who asked if I ever did book tours before taking a bookmark and business card and asking if he could pass my information along to a few others withing the company.
As I am now back home in southern Illinois, I am so very grateful for the opportunity to bring value to others, engage with some incredible people and discover gifts and blessing all along the way. What ever you are dreaming about, STOP DREAMING AND GO DO IT! You will be so glad you did!!
In 16 hours I will be heading to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for my second author event within a week! I will be traveling to Canterbury School for a back-to-back set for the Canterbury Book Fair. This is going to be an amazing event and photos will follow the days events!
Until then, allow me to share the amazing time spent in Flora, Illinois at Flora Elementary School! This was a great day spent with some amazing students and super staff! The day was all about value!
Today, I traveled to Flora, Illinois and met the students and staff of Flora Elementary School. Barney & Lexi were on hand and met the students as we put on an great presentation and gave value to others.
I look forward to coming to your school!!!
Got in some great shots today. Nothing was going to stop this day!